The Tampa Bay Buccaneers upset the NFC South champion New Orleans Saints 31-24 on the back of Jameis Winston’s game winning drive and Chris Godwin’s first career touchdown.
Here it is. The final “Pick Six” of the 2017 season. No, things didn’t go the way we all thought or believed they would for the Buccaneers. A 5-11 finish is hardly the outcome many predicted when the 2016 season ended and things appeared to be on the uptick. Now, the Bucs are left with a lot of questions to be answered, a lot of roster holes to fill, and a coaching staff that many question.
However, in the closing seconds of the season, none of that mattered. Not one single bit. Jameis Winston, despite having a shaky game and turning the ball over three times, drove the ball 95 yards down the field in less than two minutes with no timeouts and hit Chris Godwin with a dime for the go-ahead score to upset the NFC South champion New Orleans Saints.
What a finish.
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Winston, with that touchdown, would finish with the most touchdown passes in NFL history by a quarterback under 24 years old and Godwin would get his first career score in the most crucial of situations. And despite allowing the Saints to march down the field to take the lead back after the Bucs went up 20-17, the defense came up with that ever elusive clutch fourth quarter stop to give the offense a chance to win the game.
All in all, it was a complete team victory where we watched the team rally around one another and get the job done. If only we had seen that all season long…
Now, what do you say we dive in to our final pick six of the 2017 season?
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) Stop Worrying About Where Jon Gruden Went. Scott Reynolds of the Pewter Report put out a report Sunday morning regarding what he was hearing about the Gruden negotiations and why they didn’t come to fruition. I was vocal in my opinion of Gruden not being the right answer if a coaching change was made, but that I had accepted it as an inevitability. Now, we find out that it was Gruden or bust and when the price got to high, there were no other coaching options outside of Koetter. Of course, both sides are going to deny these reports out of respect of the staff that was retained, but they happened. I trust Scott Reynolds’ report and I trust that national outlets weren’t just blowing smoke. Gruden is going to the Raiders because they went all in. $100 million dollars over a decade is way too much to pay a coach, no matter how much nostalgia you have for him. Maybe keeping the same staff for longer than two years isn’t a bad thing. Then again, it might be. However, locking up that much money in a coach that won you a super bowl then proceeded to post a sub-.500 record for the remaining years of his tenure doesn’t exactly seem like the smartest of ideas, either.
2.) Will The Entire Staff Remain Intact? After the win against the Saints, head coach Dirk Koetter spoke about the opportunity he received from the Glazers and the opportunity moving forward. Koetter told the media, “It took a lot of courage for the Glazer family to bring me back, bring the staff back, with the record the way it was,” Okay, so is the entire staff returning? If so, we have big problems. The offensive and defensive lines are atrocious and have seen little to no improvement under this staff. Mike Smith, despite the defense playing well in spurts down the stretch, is not going to get the defense to level it needs to be to get into the postseason. There needs to be some serious changes made. Otherwise, we’re in for another let down in 2018 and the coaching discussions ramp up yet again. There will be some really good defensive coordinator candidates available. I understand the loyalty to his friend, but Koetter’s livelihood is on the line now and he knows it. Improve this team and save your job.
3.) Stop Freaking Out Over A “Meaningless Win”. This was one of the worst things to deal with on social media following an exciting game and an epic finish by the Bucs. People whining and crying about how the Buccaneers “ruined” their draft position by winning a meaningless game. For starters, it wasn’t meaningless. Any time you beat a division rival, it’s a good thing. Any time you beat a team that’s going to the postseason, it’s a good thing. Shoot, any time you win at all, it’s a good thing. Is dropping two spots in the draft really that big of a deal? No. No it’s not. High draft position didn’t help the Bucs out any more when they draft Gaines Adams, did it? What about Mark Barron? Bo Jackson? Vinny Testaverde? The Cleveland Browns have been drafting in the top five since the wheel was invented and have they gotten any better? True, two more players would have been available and now won’t be had the Bucs lost. Whoop-de-doo. The draft is such a fluid thing that it doesn’t really matter. Teams are going to move up for a player they love. You could argue that four of the six picks ahead of the Bucs could very well be quarterbacks. I understand so many love Bradley Chubb. I’d love for him to be a Buccaneer too, but the Colts could take him at four leaving the point moot. What does it truly matter? The Buccaneers could sign Ziggy Ansah in the off-season then use their first round pick on a cornerback. Or a running back. Or offensive line. This team has enough needs to address that (potentially) missing out on ONE guy isn’t going to derail the Bucs’ growth. Quit crying over two measly spots and just enjoy the win. I mean, it’s okay to be happy once and a while…
4.) Pat Murray Stays. He’s missed two kicks and an extra point over the last three weeks, but Murray deserves an extension. I think Derek Fournier of What The Buc nailed it on his latest podcast where he said he believed Murray was injured. His leg strength hasn’t seemed to be there the past few games and it’s especially evident on kickoffs. With Murray lining up for kicks, the position is no longer a huge concern. Every kicker misses now and again, but Murray earned the job this season and needs to be brought back.
5.) Mike Evans Missed His Chance. Yes, Evans is in some rare company that we will get to in a minute, but this was the season he was supposed to establish himself in the camp with Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., and Julio Jones as a member of the NFL’s elite. Instead, we saw too many drops and too many instances where Evans broke off a route or showed a lack of trying. Until that gets cleaned up, Evans will be stuck in that tier two category. As it stands now, we’re looking at a player that has explosive seasons every other year rather than every single week through his career.
6.) Let The Circus Begin! Player cuts, (potential) staff changes, draft talk, free agent wish lists. It’s all beginning now. It’s officially that time. So sit back, relax, and enjoy.
Six Numbers To Consider
69 – Jameis Winston’s career touchdown passes – most ever by a quarterback before they turn 24.
8 – Winston threw for the eighth most yards in one season in Bucs’ history, giving him a top ten finish in all three of his NFL seasons.
7 – Buccaneers’ draft spot come April 26
72 – Days until the start of NFL free agency
115 – Days until the NFL draft
Six Top Tweets
In no particular order, as always;
Not really sure what’s going on here between Koetter and Sean Payton, but it’s entertaining…
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) New England Patriots – Tommy terrific and Belichick are in the playoffs with home field advantage. No one is going to get in their way except themselves.
2.) New Orleans Saints – They match up well against any team that’s in the NFC bracket. Think they have a solid chance of getting to play in Minnesota twice this postseason.
3.) Minnesota Vikings – The defense is good enough to win it all, but can Case Keenum be trusted to get them there?
4.) Pittsburgh Steelers – I give them winning in New England as good of a chance of me winning the lottery tomorrow, but they’re talented enough to contend for a title if that miracle happens.
5.) Los Angeles Rams – McVay. Goff. MVGurley. Hollywood. No one saw this coming and it has been an absolute blast to watch.
6.) Philadelphia Eagles – Very little confidence that Nick Foles can get them there, but he’s played well since Wentz went down.